Brand New Excerpts: We Still Ain't Got This Right
3OB (An Obie One Chapter)
Throw a bunch'a men together and invariably the talk will turn to sex.
So let it be written, so let it be done.
And men who have A Lotta Sex will have A Lot To Talk About.
That’s how we got to talkin bout Bitches Who Trade Sex For Material Goods.
Some bitches think they entitled to a token from you for a Good Performance.
Specially if You Got Money.
But you know me:
“I ain’t givin a bitch shit. I won’t Buy a Bitch a Burger if she starvin.
I won’t go through the drive-thru if she payin.
She wanna eat? I got All The Beef she can handle,
Don’t Choke On The Way Down.
It ain’t like I’m Forcin Her to Go To Bed with me, yaomean?
If she Wanna Fu*k and So Do I, she pret-ty much Gettin What She Came For.
End'a story, now you gotta go.”
“Some girls is worth a Little Somethin, Obie. I mean damn: they workin hard.”
“This ain’t no video, Freak, we fu*kin. Fu*kin ain’t a Merit Pay type situation.
What they gettin is Superior Dick.
Somethin To Write Home About, Tell All They Friends.”
“You bought Nikki a Full Length Fox Fur Coat one time,” Barry divulges.
“That she was Runnin Around In in the middle of July,” Dionne laughs.
“And that the fool she was screwin promptly poured Hot Crisco all over,”
I suck my teeth at the memory. “Bet I never did that again.”
“You bought Princess a twenty-five hundred dollar navel ring,” Hood quips.
“And she was fu*kin who at the time?!” I glare at him intently.
“Cause Contrary to Popular Opinion: It wasn’t me.
How you drag Princess into this shit anyway? Who does that?
And why you worried bout How I Spend Mine or Who I Spend It On?
You ever see Cess hit her knees tryna suck a diamond studded navel ring outta me?
I buy her things cause it pleases me, cause I love to see her look good:
And Cause I Can.”
“Don’t you feel bad treatin women like that?” Mommy asks me.
“I don’t mistreat nobody. If some dumb bitch wanna Swallow Me Whole
and fu*k me Five Ways From Sunday just cause I been in a few videos
I ain’t gon tell her No Miss: I Respect You Too Much.
Fu*k That. She gotta respect herself.”
“That Ain’t Right Obie. That’s how women end up feelin Used.”
“And they ain’t Tryna Use Me. Tradin A Fu*k for A Shoppin Spree.
It ain’t my job to think for no bitch.”
“Some women Put Themselves Out There Mommy,” Freak lets her know;
“If they act like ho’s they can’t get mad when we treat em like ho’s.”
“Some bitches will do anything if you famous,” Hood adds, "Fu*k us all at the same time, yo.”
“Y’all would Run A Train on some girl,” Mommy sounds disgusted.
“Technically…It’s not A Train if she Down With It. And if she like it, I love it,” Freak confirms.
Mommy shakes her head.
“What Normal Girl wants to have sex with three-and-four men at one time?” she asks.
The room falls silent for a spell, until…
“Personally:” Xanadi clears her throat, “When I Get My Smoke On… I can fu*k the three of them under a table.”
I was prayin she wouldn’t Go There
but Xanadi points to Freak Hood and Barry.
And while Xanadi is slappin her chest with her open palm proudly,
Mommy looks at her like her Cheese done Slipped Off Her Cracker.
Meanwhile: Embarrassed & Searchin For The Exit,
Hood Freak and Barry sink way down in they seats.
As Mommy’s gaze sweeps over each of them they sink even lower.
“And y’all Do This Girl like that?! Your cousin…who you supposed to love.”
“They don’t Do Me Like nothin Mommy, it’s my choice.”
“I ain’t wanna Jump In Before,” Hood states, “while Xena was Frontin like O had Victimized Her or some shit,
but Xena been Like This since I met her.”
“Whatchu mean ‘Frontin'’???” Xena explodes.
“Just what I said, Trick: Frontin'. Front-tin.
If you was Bonin’ me Barry and Obie, not to mention Freak, and Blowin BB:
How come Obie’s The Only One who shoulda Knowed Better???”
“Don’t throw my name in this,” Freak sputters. “I wasn’t screwin no kid.”
“Who gives a shit?!” Hood dismisses him without even turnin to face him,
“You’re still Bonin’ Me & Barry to this day.”
Xena stares at the floor. Wordless.
“Is it cause Obie just don’t want your behind no more???” Hood theorizes…
“Cause that’s Obie One not R Kelly, and you don’t have a right to make him feel like Some Kinda Monster cause you wanted to get laid.”
“I think All' a Y’all was wrong,” Mommy points out,
“and the fact that You Don’t Feel Wrong says somethin about you.”
“No: I don’t feel wrong, you know why?
Cause I know what it is to be Thirteen and Horny.
You act like I threw money at Xena or somethin.
Like I shook a bag of candy in her face and said:
Touch Daddy’s Dick & I’ll Give You A Tootsie Pop.
You know what I was into at thirteen?
Well when I was ten, the girl downstairs would Blow Me for a quarter.
When I was thirteen I was Tall, I was Yaller, I was Fine, and I Had Money To Spare.
Fill in the blanks Ma.
Shoot: Every thirteen year old ain’t a Little Girl. Think about what you was doin at thirteen.”
“I know how I got there too,” Mommy informs Hood. “My mother was a ho,
and she sold me when I was eight cause she needed the money for the rent.
The girl downstairs from you: her mother was a ho too right?”
“Nobody abused Obie’s mamma and she was Right Out There At Your Side.
All I’m sayin is I’m not gonna ask nobody’s Life History before I Do Them.
And Xena needs to be Honest with herself about why she’s mad at Obie.”
“Confession?” Barry raises his hand; “While Obie was Wrestling With His Conscience and Hood was Waitin To See what Obie’d Do, I’d Already Hit That.”
Hood’s head swivels around to Barry at the same time mine’s does.
We both glare at him.
“Yeah I was First,” Barry reveals, “And I don’t see you cryin Barry’s A Molester.
I didn’t need nobody to Make Up My Mind for me,” he looks at Hood.
“On The Street you wanna Hit That before Someone Else Does.
And Xena was Available, Real Talk.
So I’m gonna side with Hood on this and tell you Stop Frontin, claro?”
“Y’all are Killin Me,” Mommy complains. “I don’t Get It.”
“I don’t either,” Freak agrees. “I thought they was all a Bunch'a Bitches.”
“She wasn’t out in the street where somebody could hurt her,” Hood notes.
“No: she was gettin Gang Raped by World Famous Davis,” Freak counters;
“How Special is that?!”
“Oh you was On That Too,” Barry accuses him.
“I’m not into little girls,” Freak sets Barry straight;
“I was seventeen and I wasn’t screwin the thirteen-year-old.”
“It Wasn’t That Serious,” Xena proclaims. “I told you that Way Back Then.”
“So why make a Big Deal out of it now,” Freak sucks his teeth.
“That’s all I’m sayin,” Hood avows. “Shit, I like you Xena: always have.”
“Yo: Me Too,” Barry adds. “So don’t get mad at me chica.
Any time you Get Your Smoke On and you feel like Droppin Ya Draws?
Holla At A Playa: I’m Still That Nigga you need.
I’ll fu*k you Blind.”
4BG (A Baby Girl Chapter)
They say that prayer-changes-things…
Slowly-but-surely, LaRocque improves to where, miraculously,
a couple of weeks before The Grammy telecast he’s rehearsing alongside us.
He gets winded easily, we let him rest as often as he needs to,
but for the third time in two hours LaRocque limps over to the sidelines.
His chest heaves as he struggles to catch his breath, O calls for another break.
“Nah, y’all keep goin’,” LaRocque gasps. “You already stopped twice,
at this rate we’ll never-get-finished. Besides: I’ll catch on better if I watch.”
“You sure you gon’ ‘make it’?” Hood lumbers over; stoops by Rocky’s side.
“I’m ‘good,’” LaRocque assures Hood, breathes a bit more evenly;
“The fact that I’m in excruciating pain ain’t helpin’ none, but I’ll be a’ight;
I just can’t figure out why this hurts so much today.”
“Probly ‘cause you’re doin’-too-much,” Oscar chastises him.
“No pain, no gain,” LaRocque retorts. “How else am I gon’ get show-ready?”
We beg him to let-this-one-go;
it seems nothing-short-of-death is going to keep him from performing.
“I swear this is like talkin’-to-Princess,” O mutters under his breath.
Before I can jump down O’s throat with both feet; say something smart;
Rocky reminds him that: “Despite all that ‘yang’ you talked back then,
Princess overcame everything that happened to her:
broken bones… mental breakdown… everything;
and put-them-Hators who said her-career-was-over in their place.”
Red-in-the-face, panting, eyes crinkled up, palms pressed to his forehead,
LaRocque sniffs loudly.
“It’s one show, Rocky,” I try to soothe him;
“there’ll be others: you-know-it and I-know-it.
No one wants to see you destroy your health over this.”
“’Girl I don’t care if I’m doped to the gills, and I collapse into a coma when I’m through:
I will be on that stage.”
My hands, now balled into fists, lash out/strike my thighs impotently;
stifling the urge to scream, I turn, walk away.
The way he’s carrying on,
you’d think this was Rocky’s “last stand” or something.
And then “the family” arrived…
How did I forget that these people fight all the gotdamned time?!
Who does that anymore?
LaRocque may be depressed;
but Xena is suffering from the-only-worst-attitude-in-the-world.
The urge-to-share has hit her; I don’t mean in a “good way,” either.
Not only is Xena over-exposing all her dirty-little-secrets,
she’s pulling-the-covers-off everyone else’s shit, too.
So she’s mad at Obie for what-went-down between them?
That’s “all-good,” but:
she didn’t have to let the-whole-world know that
Obie fu*ked her when she was a kid.
Especially if she’s the one who sparked that flame.
I feel bad for her, being abused-and-all, but Xena made Obie look like shit.
I know Obie cared about her;
he wasn’t just using-her-for-sex like Hood, Barry were;
and why is she complaining?
She dove buck-naked-and-head-first under their sheets herself.
Then she had to go-and-tell-the-world that she smokes crack then fu*ks
four niggas at a time.
Who gives a “rat’s ass,” naowmean?
That made Mommy get knee-deep-in-everybody’s-shit.
LaRocque ended up having to confess that he, too,
Isn’t that his business? Because I know LaRocque was embarrassed.
But when that bitch decided to “air out” on me???
You know it-was-on.
First of all, who-gave-her-the-right to tell everybody
I regularly screwed Barry and Rocky in the same evening?
Some things you just don’t want your folks to know.
Second, she absolutely, positively did not have to tell everyone I had sex with her, too.
How do I explain that???
Cause that was a little “confession” I may have accidentally left off my list.
I mean, really, though:
if you can’t-try-new-things with your-own-family…
who can you try them with?
Somebody tell me.
Oh, my damn, I’ll never-hear-the-end-of-it.
Excerpts: This Ain't No Hearts and Flowers Love Story Pt 2
4BG (A Baby Girl Chapter)
They say you can’t miss what you never had; but
in a few short hours I have become obsessed with this child I will never know.
It was my baby; I miss it terribly; it was gone before I had a chance to know it was here.
How could I have a miscarriage when I didn’t even know I was pregnant?
How could I get pregnant if Obie and I are always careful?
That one time that we weren’t was so long ago.
I had my period after that, remember?
I just don’t understand.
I know I said I didn’t want any babies;
if I had known I was pregnant, I would have taken better care of myself.
What would it have looked like?
Dark like me?
Light like Obie?
Creamy brown like BB with killer grey eyes and dark curly hair?
I am all “deathed” out, can’t take any more. A wave of grief engulfs me;
like at the ocean, it pulls me under; in its wake, I am unable to talk to anyone.
Are you listening God?
It’s me, Princess.
I’m sorry for the wrong I’ve done, beg Your forgiveness in Jesus’ name,
ask that you please don’t heap any more on me right now.
I know if I hadn’t started that fight with Obie my baby would be alive today.
I made a promise, I broke it, but the cost is so high, Lord.
They wanted to do a vacuum aspiration to empty the contents of my womb.
Isn’t it empty enough?
I knew it would hurt so I “threw one;” they made-me-anyway.
Afterwards the nurse comes in with a RhoGAM shot.
“I don’t need that,” I tell her.
“You’ve never been pregnant before and you’re RH negative.
You have to take this so your body doesn’t attack your next baby.”
“Miss,” I repeat impatiently, “I don’t need that thing; I’m DU positive.”
“The doctor said--” Nursey began; I cut-her-off-at-the-pass.
“Get that thing away from me,” I order her, tired of farting-around-with-the-help.
Nursey runs out of the room like her ass was on fire, probably to get the doctor.
“You really need that shot,” Young advises me.
“Don’t you think I know my own body?” I snap. “I don’t need it. I’m DU positive.
Bring me an OB who knows what the Hell he’s doing; watch him agree with me.”
What they send me is some bullshit resident; I flip.
What is it about the male species that has them believing they know
more about a woman’s body than she does?
I’m getting damn frustrated here; you know what that does for my mood.
Young has them sedate me; says I’m not “acting rationally.”
How rational is one in the midst of a miscarriage?
I can’t tell you: this is my first.
I can tell you the Head of the GYN Dept confirms that I do not need a RhoGAM.
The hospital moves me upstairs to a private room;
one by one, family members come in to sit with me for half an hour;
Obie comes in last, stays the-rest-of-the-night.
What a dumb question; I can’t bring myself to answer that one.
But he means well.
“What about you?”
Answer a-dumb-question with another-dumb-question? Get-no-reply in return.
Here I am, on every channel for the third time in six months; we sit-in-silence as the
television watches us; I’m becoming a regular evening-news-staple.
Didn’t that used to be Obie’s job?
That was a joke; if I had any sense of humor left at all, I might even laugh.
Somewhere along the line I doze off; dream of a beautiful, chocolate baby; awaken in tears.
Oh-so-softly Obie brushes them away with his thumbs.
He, too, has been crying.
My eyelids flutter-and-close; when I open them again it’s morning.
They say I lost a great deal of blood; it needs to be replaced.
Under normal circumstances, I would have been released after twenty-four hours;
I have to stay until my condition stabilizes.
On the third day, I rise phoenix-like from my latest tragedy to leave the hospital.
As we walk out the front door, flashbulbs go off in my face.
When a celebrity talks about the high-cost-of-fame, this is it in-a-nutshell, folks.
Despite Obie’s campaign,
and the one thousand free T-shirts he gave away on our website declaring such,
the whole “Leave The ‘Girl Alone” thing is quite-obviously-lost on these people.
5OB (An Obie One Chapter)
Princess is havin a miscarriage.
Who knew she was even pregnant?
Cause she Sure As Fuck ain’t said nothin to me about it.
If Death comes in three’s ain’t this Number Four?
And can I volunteer to be Number Five?
I sure can’t take two more of these.
The doctor wants to do a vacuum aspiration, which is a little tube attached to a machine
that will suck The Rest Of My Child from Cess’s Uterus.
Aware of what’s goin on, Princess comes to, screamin:
“Don’t let them do that to me. It hurts.”
What am I supposed to do? If they don’t stop the bleedin Cess’ll die.
I done already Put My Name In The Hat to be Number Five so
Princess Ain’t Goin Nowhere, you feel me?
In the recovery room Princess is hooked up to mass IV’s.
The doctor say she gonna need a transfusion.
I want her to try to Build Up Her Own blood supply but the doctor say that could take Forever and Princess Need Blood Now.
We’ll be damned if she gets some Crackhead’s blood,
so we all line up to Donate To The Cause.
Uncle BB is a Universal Donor but he and Lee never make it through the door.
Homo’s Can’t Give Blood.
Uncle BB damn near kicked over the table in the lab on his way out.
“Sorry but I can’t take your blood either.”
“I’m Not A Homo,” I rise half outta my chair to declare.
“No, That Would Be Me,” Lee yells from the hall.
Any Other Day this would be Funny but Today...I’m Just Not Feelin It.
“Look; you know Obie One just like you know World Famous Freak
so Let’s Skip The Formalities shall we?
I ain’t slept with another man in over a year; the only woman I slept with except for
two One Night Stands is My ‘Girl and I always wear a condom.”
I hand over the results from my last four AIDS tests, which I get monthly.
Screener Chick is tres impressed.
“My mother died of AIDS,” I tell her. “You Can’t Be Too Careful.”
“And I Still Can’t Take Your Blood. Besides, Husbands Can’t Donate anyway. ”
As Princess’ (dead) Baby Daddy I settle into Cess’s room for the night.
My head is So Fucked Up right now; very very much so.
First I get Princess Pregnant On Purpose, then I make her Lose The Baby.
It Don’t Seem Fair.
I know I Was Wrong but Damn.
I mean Really Though; you feel me?
Clearly I’m Payin For Somethin here but I Demand To See The Receipt cause
I think I’m bein Overcharged.
I didn’t Think The Whole Thing Through and it prob’ly wasn’t Fair to Do That To Cess
but we woulda loved that baby.
I know it.
I feel like shit; and Damn It- I’m cryin.
Princess is cryin too; in her sleep.
She wakes up at the same time I’m wipin her face dry but falls right back asleep again.
I sure feel like shit.
Excerpts: This Ain't No Hearts and Flowers Love Story Pt 1
2 OB (An Obie One Chapter)
The Narrowest Hallway In History ends
on a itty bitty room that contains
two twin beds with a crib in the
middle and nothin else.
Beyond that is a kitchen CRAMMED with people.
My momma grabs my hand and introduces me to my father.
I have either been Robbed or Lied To.
Talk about a Major Disappointment.
Shawn is six feet tall with pin
straight blonde hair and green eyes.
A rapid glance tells me there’s a lotta different Shades Of Black in this
Why is my father the Whitest Thing
He bout as white as my ma and me,
plus he Mad Skinny.
Don’t he eat?
This is So Unfair…
Very very much so.
For somebody so into Black Men Suze coulda done better’n this if you ask me.
I give him some kinda Half Ass
“I don’t think he likes me,” Shawn
says to my mother.
“He just gotta get used to you,
that’s all,” Suze says hopefully.
Knowin me the way she do you could
tell she had her doubts though.
Somebody asks Shawn my name and when
told they shout back incredulously:
What the Hell is that?”
“His name is Oscar,” my mother helps
out, “Oscar Bryan.”
Peals of laughter ring loud in my
ears: they Screamin on me.
That nigga named Oscar??”
“What kinda name is that for a nigga?”
“You know his momma White.”
Laugh laugh laugh, chuckle chuckle, yuk yuk.
If I had a gun I woulda Gone Postal.
sound stupid. Should be Obie,” says a girl post up by the
nearly as White as my dad. “Obie One, like in Star Wars.”
We was so damn Ghetto we didn’t even know it was Obi Wan.
Who gave a shit anyway?
I was Obie One, The Baddest Mothafucka In The World.
I never had a family of
my own before.
The closest I ever came was Mrs.
And these people can eat.
They nice to my momma too.
Someone even showed Suze all the best
places to Cop Drugs.
I changed my mind.
Die Hard Ghetto Niggas that they are,
my family admired my speed and my street smarts.
But you hafta have thick skin to survive a day with this bunch.
Jokes they got, folks.
Some of they Jokes could be down right Brutal but if you wait it out
The Mike Always Passes and it’s someone else’s Turn To Burn.
They was always teasin me, tryna take my headband off and stuff.
My momma snatched that headband one day last year and gave it to me cause
my hair was Gettin Too Long and Fallin In My Face.
I never took that headband off ‘cept to wash my hair, then I put it Right Back On.
Suze would blush over they use of the word Nigga so they said it all the time
just to make her Under Comfortable.
Not in a mean or cruel way, that’s just the way they was.
Suze understood and wasn’t offended at all.
One day Aunty Cay comes in to find my momma Passed Out Cold
with Rahshaun stuck up under her legs hollerin and screamin his head off.
Aunty calls my dad Shawn up and tells him to:
“Get that junkie bitch out my house right now fore I kill her.”
“I did that to OB All The Time,” Suze kept Tryna Explain, twistin her hands.
Cay turned them six feet two inches on my momma and said:
“Maybe that’s why BCW’s chasin yo’ Lily White Ass all over town.”
Ain’t nobody in that house ever called my momma White like that before:
like it was a curse.
Suze realized she had Wore Out Her Welcome.
For the next two days Aunty Cay was very cold towards my momma.
When I woke up that third morning my momma was gone.
Just like Justin Timberlake said it:
I waited, figurin Suze ran out to the store or somethin.
By noon I got panicky.
“Y’all seen my momma?” I asked The Crowd in the kitchen.
The way Eyes was Fallin Like Dominoes I knew somethin had to be up.
“What happened? She got busted or somethin?”
Busted I knew.
Busted I could handle, cause that meant she’d be back After ‘While.
That was the only other concept of time I had besides Soon.
Either Suze would be back Soon or she’d be back After ‘While
but she had to be comin back. She wouldn’t just leave me like that.
I mean she Ain’t Even Say Good Bye.
Maybe she went to Get High and ran into someone she knew.
Maybe she went back to Queens to see Grandma.
Didn’t matter. I’d wait for her til she returned.
So I waited and I waited.
Like the Lord said, I Patiently Waited.
When Shawn came to pack up my things I had a Panic Attack.
How would my mother find me?
We ain’t even live in Harlem.
Shawn lived with his wife in one’a Brooklyn‘s Spanish neighborhoods.
Usin my Street Smarts I found out that Shawn’s wife useta be Uncle Peter’s girl.
She had his baby not too long ago but didn’t want it so she didn’t feed it.
And who does that to a kid anyway?
Reminds me of my Grandma.
Now cancer was eatin her up.
My dad’s wife Wasn’t Too Keen on JR cause
Shawn still Had A Thing for JR’s momma.
Wasn’t nothin she could do bout that cause Shawn had Full Legal Custody.
Me she didn’t want around at all.
They agreement had been Suze & Me would stay in Harlem,
Outta Sight and Off Her Mind.
Now I was yet another bitch’s kid she had to deal with.
Shawn told me someone would let Suze know where I was when she came back.
Heart Heavier than a shoppin cart after a Cheese Line Pick Up I dragged myself into Shawn’s Caddy (yes, that Caddy) and headed for my new home.
I never stopped waitin for Suze either,
in the window every night Scannin The Horizon for a Suze Sightin
and prayin Suze would come by and Take Me Away.
Or just visit. Just stop by to say:
—“I miss you.”
—“I love you.”
Why didn’t Suze come get me?
1 BG (A Baby Girl Chapter)
You know how some people always knew just what they wanted out of life?
Well, I always wanted my mother.
I’ve been known as Princess since I was five years old.
My true-legal-name, the one that’s on my birth certificate, is Baby Girl.
I was born Baby Girl Walker, and not the:
someone-gazed-lovingly-at-me-and-named-me Baby Girl, but that:
your-stupid-ass-mother-never-got-around-to-naming-you "place holder"
hospitals bestow upon unnamed infants.
Let’s you know what my mother thought of me, doesn’t it.
My father sleeps around a lot, always has.
The one girl he fell for fell for his brother’s pretty-white-skin instead.
Sally Walker didn’t know she was pregnant when she took up with my Uncle Shawn
and would have quietly aborted me if Shawn hadn’t found out.
Stuck with me, Sally’s solution was to allow me to starve to death.
Simply put: the bitch wouldn’t feed me.
Poor JR, fresh out of foster care, assumed the burden of keeping me alive.
JR boiled my bottles; made my formula; fed me, washed me, changed my diapers.
The whole time he was at school anxiety gnawed away at JR.
At three o’clock he raced to the house fast as his not-so-little legs would carry him.
My condition was always the same:
shitty, crying weakly, untouched since JR had left that morning.
By the end of the second month Uncle Shawn realized something was seriously wrong.
Young became a single father at seventeen, struggling with pre-med classes,
a full time job at Harlem Hospital and his Baby Girl.
All I know is what I heard:
we lived in a rat infested rooming house back then, the only place Young could afford.
It didn’t stop him from painstakingly nursing my malnourished behind back to health.
When it came time to amend the birth certificate Young let my name stand.
Unlike my mother he had gazed lovingly into my face,
Pronouncing me his "Baby Girl."
Life improved for us ten thousand percent when Young went back to live with Uncle BB,
who’s not really my uncle.
BB is my father’s lover. Uncle Tommy is Uncle BB’s other lover.
We all lived together in a penthouse on Park Avenue.
We always had plenty of money; back then Uncle BB was some Senator’s "sex toy."
The Senator paid our bills, kept Uncle BB up to his Armani-clad neck in gold jewelry, Mercedes-Benz’s.
Uncle BB made plenty of money on the side selling weed
(later on cocaine) down on Wall Street; throwing breathtakingly opulent sex-parties
for rich-and-influential "older White gentlemen."
That’s how he came to be known as The Fabulous BB Johnson.
Uncle Tommy was a big-time Harlem drug lord. His driver’s license read Thomas Lee;
his street name was Harlem Black, aka Hell Up In Harlem.
Ruthless, cut-throat, cold blooded, openly gay but no punk, word on the street was
Hell Up In Harlem, along with his crazy yaller lover,
would frame you where you sat over a fag joke.
"You ever notice how a 9mm pistol will bring all the fag jokes to a end quick-fast?"
was Uncle Tommy’s favorite line. Followed by:
"Bend over. I wanna see what’ll fit in your ass better: my dick or my gun."
Capped off by bloodshed.
These were not men to be played with.
My Dad was Young.
Or Baby; take your pick, he was called both interchangeably.
Ten years younger than Uncle BB, six years younger than Uncle Tommy, he was
their "baby;" they doted on him.
Young loved me in an undemonstrative way.
Uncle Tommy hates kids and women, basically fussed at me all the time.
Uncle BB, who fell in love with me the minute he saw me, was warm, affectionate;
but certainly no mother substitute.
What I needed was a woman’s touch.
Envy and hatred consumed me,
fed every morning by the sight of mothers dropping their children off at my preschool; revitalized each evening as every child in my class rushed headfirst into a mother’s open arms:
Oh, I had a mother.
Knew where she lived even:
Right in Brooklyn with Obie and JR and my Uncle Shawn.
Understood that as an infant I had been unwanted.
But was I still?
Inquiring Minds wanted to know.
My yearning transformed me into a bitter and angry child.
Outrageous temper tantrums became such the norm that Uncle BB had to pay extra
to hire another classroom assistant in pre-school.
At home they had to hire Obie.
He kept us both entertained and in check at the same time.
Oh, the secrets this nigga had.
Eight months after I was born Tugie had another boy with Uncle Shawn,
who was still married to my mother.
This created mass tension between Uncle BB and my daddy.
Uncle BB didn’t much care who my daddy fucked
but he wasn’t down with that falling-in-love shit.
Every Tuesday JR’s momma Tugie had class until ten p.m.,
so Big Momma watched Rocky for her all night.
Since Sally barred Uncle Shawn from seeing either of them,
every Tuesday he would creep on over to Tugie’s for some-of-that-there
while Uncle Shawn was rockin-Tugie’s-boat, Young was at his house banging Sally.
"Lifestyles of the Young and Shameless."
Anyway…Young left around four or five so Obie figured that would be a good time
to ride the train on over there and surprise my momma.
Since we were so, so very not supposed to on the train in the first place,
Obie had to make double sure nothing happened to us. He held on to my hand
extra tightly while simultaneously maintaining a death grip on Squared’s.
God forbid the-deaf-kid got lost in the madness that is a NYC subway station
at the height of rush hour.
All the way there my stomach is doing these crazy flip-flops.
I just knew I was going to puke up my guts.
During the trudge from the train station, all the way up the stairs to Obie’s
third floor brownstone apartment, my heart pounds like a jackhammer.
I tremble with anticipation; my legs feel all weak-and-rubbery.
Even though the door was unlocked Obie knocks anyway:
A) Young might still be there "getting busy" with Sally.
B) I really wasn’t supposed to be there; it would be impolite to just walk-on-in.
We hear Sally’s slippered footsteps shuffle towards the door;
her harsh voice demand:
"What the fuck you knockin for and why you ain’t at work?"
She does not sound really nice from here.
I begin to think that maybe I made a mistake here.
Know what I’m sayin?
Icy trepidation replaces my eager anticipation;
The door opens inward; there she is.
I stand there with my mouth hanging open.
Sally was so thin and frail looking.
Dark like my father and me, her skin tone was ashy, lifeless.
Her hair, eyebrows were gone: lost to chemo; she had very pretty eyes though.
These widen in surprise; just as quickly narrow in anger,
distorting Sally’s features into the ugliest face I have ever seen.
In all fairness Obie tried to warn me my mom was sick-with-cancer; looked pre-ty shit-ty;
my five-year-old mind couldn’t wrap itself around that concept.
"Surprise," Obie said when the door first opened. "Look what I brought you."
That, of course, is when Sally made the-only-ugly-face.
Opening her mouth Sally lets loose a monsoon of hatefully venomous words directed
at Obie, the likes of which I’d never heard before.
"Who in the FUCK told you to bring her here?" was how it began.
I can’t even tell you the rest; I was too shook up. All I know is it ended with:
"Don’t EVER bring that bitch ‘round here again, you hear me, boy?
Wait ‘til I tell yo’ daddy."
Sally slammed the door in our faces leaving us aghast, silent in the hallway.
Except for Squared that is, whose deaf ass didn’t know what the fuck just happened
He was busy making sounds in a weird, hollow voice that was supposed to be singing.
As for me, I was devastated, man.
It wasn’t supposed to go like that.
In my fantasy I pictured a mother who hugged me, cried-for-joy at my arrival,
invited me in for milk-and-cookies.
Sally was supposed to be secretly pining away for me,
delighted that Obie would bring her such a thoughtful present.
We would discover we had much in common;
together plan our weekly secret rendezvous before I left.
Why I was so, so very wrong, though?
‘Cause "survey says:"
I was unloved and unwanted by the woman who had given-me-life.